My dear friend Glenda sent me this today. Glenda and I met back in the day at a La Leche League meeting and have been friends ever since. Well, let me tell you, boy are my panties in a bunch! Fed is Best has been working on destroying the positive trend toward normal human feeding for over three years. I have been trying to ignore Fed is Best because I find them to be so hateful and filled with miss-information but this is too much.
Here’s my interpretation of their back story. Basically, a mother who was a doctor had horrific care in the first weeks after her first baby was born. In my opinion, this mother should have been flagged immediately by her health care provider at their first check up on day 4 or so for needing more food, supervision, and assistance. The baby had lost too much weight (over 10%) and was not feeding well. BUT instead of blaming our health care system, she (and now her colleagues) decided that BREASTFEEDING was what cause her tragic outcomes with her baby NOT her doctor.
Wrong. It is our health care provider’s responsibility to make sure our tiny babies are thriving and this woman’s health care provider did not. The baby ended up dehydrated, not because of breastfeeding, but because of poor breastfeeding which was not identified. Also, where was the IBCLC? Where was at the very least, another weight check in a day or two?
I am not arguing that this woman’s story is heartbreaking. I am arguing that instead of attacking breastfeeding, they should be attacking our health care system. But no. They actually went to the World Health Organization and said that the breastfeeding recommendations needed to be changed.
“One key recommendation left unchanged since 1989—“give infants no food or drink other than breast-milk, unless medically indicated”—is one of the WHO Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, which guides the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI). A global program of the WHO, based on widely misinterpreted data suggesting that “breast is best,” there are currently 461 Baby-Friendly certified hospitals and birthing centers in the U.S., with thousands more worldwide. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a baby who still seems hungry after most feedings may not be getting enough milk and should be evaluated immediately.”
The WHO gave a resounding NO! back. Of course a baby who “seems” hungry, a highly subjective measure, will be evaluated for signs of a well fed baby. We all agree, fed is best.
When asked to have a productive dialog by 85 health organizations (This really is a must read as well. So telling) they said they wouldn’t play because one of the Executive Directors of one of the organizations had made a negative Facebook comment about Fed is Best 10 months before! The “offender” publicly apologized and removed herself from the other now 84 organizations asking for a positive communication. However, Fed is Best never responded until they were asked again to do this.
Fed is Best then sent a letter ignoring the request and said they were working on their own internal policies. Seven months later these have still have not been released. Here is an article that really sums up some of the issues with Fed is Best. “Fed is Best: Great Message, Not So Great Science” by the American Council on Health and Science.
Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative
And now they are attacking the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative. This is a clever move on their part. Rather than having families be able to seek refuge in a more breastfeeding supportive environment Fed is Best is trying to spin the idea that if you go to a Baby Friendly Hospital your baby is in grave danger of starving from neglect.
I wrote this blog on this in the past. When you read this current post from Fed is Best, Nurses are speaking our about the dangers of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, these are even nurses from Baby Friendly Hospitals! They are also from nurses from NICUs! NICUs are not governed by the same rules as the well baby units! One of the nurses claims babies in her NICU are starving. What? What does this have to do with breastfeeding? This is clearly click bait and the blog does not deliver the evidence they promised.
Finally, I also noticed that the three languages that have translations are China, Korea, and Japan. Three of the biggest formula users in the world. Not Spanish! They say follow the money. Who is paying for this site and organization? They have their financials on their site from 2016 and 2017 when they were just getting started but where is the 2018 report? They say they aren’t taking money from formula companies but $30,000 does not pay for all of this work.
As requested by 85 health organizations, can we talk? We should be on the same page. For babies, we all agree fed is best. So why can’t we work together to help educate parents and make sure services are provided so tragedies like underfed babies don’t happen in the future? As an IBCLC myself, if you ever have concerns about your baby not getting enough food, please reach out! To your health care provider or to a really good IBCLC.